Anesthesia Dental Cleaning for 10+ Age GSD - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 10:49 AM Thread Starter
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Anesthesia Dental Cleaning for 10+ Age GSD

Hello, first time poster, long time lurker. Need some advice...


A week ago my dog was chewing on a bully stick and all of a sudden he was pawing at his mouth and was bleeding a little bit. I took the bully stick away and tried to look in his mouth. I couldn't really find anything. Fast forward to the other day and he was pawing at his mouth after eating some dry kibble and had a little bleeding. I looked again in his mouth and it looked like a piece of his molar tooth broke off. I compared both sides of the mouth. The tooth on one side has three ridges and the other side has two ridges.



Anyway, I took him to the vet yesterday and the doctor said he has a lot of chipped teeth but that was normal. He said he needs a dental cleaning with anesthesia and then when he is under he will decide if any extractions are needed. I am having them do a full panel of blood work on him. The doctor says the blood panel tests for 60 things and rules out complications for the anesthesia.



My concern is the anesthesia for my dog of 10.5 years old. Should I be worried? He has been under anesthesia twice before and did fine, but the last one was about 5 years ago.



Also, from the research I did, bleeding from teeth usually means the pulp is exposed... Is that correct? If so, then he definitely needs an extraction right?
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 11:03 AM
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I know many older dogs go under anesthesia older for teeth cleaning and are fine. There is always a risk going under anesthesia. Your dog had no issues prior with anesthesia so always good. It is good the blood working is getting done and you trust your vet. Any dental infections could lead to more issues. I would ask the vet about signs of exposed pulp.
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jenny720 View Post
I know many older dogs go under anesthesia older for teeth cleaning and are fine. There is always a risk going under anesthesia. Your dog had no issues prior with anesthesia so always good. It is good the blood working is getting done and you trust your vet. Any dental infections could lead to more issues. I would ask the vet about signs of exposed pulp.

Thanks for the reply. I will ask him about that. Should I ask for x-rays? Will an infection show up on a blood test?
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 12:05 PM
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X-rays should be part of the dental procedure if there is suspected breakage. That shows if any abscesses have formed around the roots of the tooth.
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 12:42 PM
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There's always a concern with anesthesia....always...that said....until recently we had 2 senior males one is approaching 14 he had a dental cleaning when he was 12 with 2 extractions...the other male Cody who we recently lost had a dental at around 11.5 with one extraction that tooth was split in 2 pieces that was easy to see (I found it while checking inside his mouth).....but the majority of the time teeth which need extracting are found by x-ray while under anesthesia so I'd assume your vet will do an x-ray.....BUT in your shoes yes I'd mention it.....neither of these seniors had an issue with the anesthesia or the procedure...both of these guys had been through major surgeries before with no anesthesia issues.


My vets specialty is dental and he's got a pretty good team around him- IMO that's very important where anesthesia is involved--I don't know where you're located OR how comfortable your are with your vet....many areas of the US have vets who specialize in dental...but only you know if this is your regular vet and---if you're comfortable with him



Bleeding from a tooth itself would likely mean pulp is exposed--but these guys are like humans in that they get tarter build up and their gums will bleed easier when chewing (not always a tooth) on a hard object sometimes...that's your vets call IMO.....I will say that in both cases these dogs were not chewing their food normally (as you said about your dog)....for me that's what prompted the initial vet visits
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Last edited by Shane'sDad; 02-01-2019 at 12:44 PM.
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 12:45 PM
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Yeah, with a broken tooth, you really do need to do something...but extraction possibly isn't the only option. A vet dentist can sometimes put a topical sealant on some kinds of minor breaks that bonds with the dentin and forms a permanent fix -- depending on the kind of break.


No, an infection is unlikely to show up on a blood test unless the dog is gravely ill to the point its interfering with metabolic processes. It's something usually observed during the oral exam.


If you have the means and/or pet insurance to deal with the broken tooth, I would probably take the dog to a vet dentist. They can do a cleaning as an "add on" for a small up-charge while fixing the molar. The vet dentists I've known have also had advanced surgery suites (with "Bair hugger" warmers to maintain body temperature, etc.)....which not all GP vets have. I'm told that the way fluids are administered during surgery can also improve safety for seniors.

You can save a little money by having the regular vet run the bloodwork for you (as it's usually cheaper than through the specialist).

At university vet school clinics, and some specialty clinics, you can usually also request a vet anesthesiologist to be present. This article might be helpful in explaining the difference between a surgery at a general practice clinic vs. at a vet school:
https://now.tufts.edu/articles/pets-and-anesthesia
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Last edited by Magwart; 02-01-2019 at 12:53 PM.
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Shane'sDad View Post
There's always a concern with anesthesia....always...that said....until recently we had 2 senior males one is approaching 14 he had a dental cleaning when he was 12 with 2 extractions...the other male Cody who we recently lost had a dental at around 11.5 with one extraction that tooth was split in 2 pieces that was easy to see (I found it while checking inside his mouth).....but the majority of the time teeth which need extracting are found by x-ray while under anesthesia so I'd assume your vet will do an x-ray.....BUT in your shoes yes I'd mention it.....neither of these seniors had an issue with the anesthesia or the procedure...both of these guys had been through major surgeries before with no anesthesia issues.


My vets specialty is dental and he's got a pretty good team around him- IMO that's very important where anesthesia is involved--I don't know where you're located OR how comfortable your are with your vet....many areas of the US have vets who specialize in dental...but only you know if this is your regular vet and---if you're comfortable with him



Bleeding from a tooth itself would likely mean pulp is exposed--but these guys are like humans in that they get tarter build up and their gums will bleed easier when chewing (not always a tooth) on a hard object sometimes...that's your vets call IMO.....I will say that in both cases these dogs were not chewing their food normally (as you said about your dog)....for me that's what prompted the initial vet visits

I am in Southern California. The vet I am using is at Loma Linda Animal Hospital. They have a dental suite but I don't know if he is a certified vet dentist. I have a call back from him this afternoon to discuss the blood results and ask my questions.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 01:05 PM
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Hi Reckzx & WELCOME!

We just went thru this with our 11 year old last year.

I was a basket case leading up to this dental procedure (3 extractions and cleaning) b/c we lost a 10 year old GSD to anesthesia years ago.

Instead of going to our regular vet, we chose a board certified dentist to help calm my fears. They were wonderful and a trained Tech was assigned just to her until we left. They let me sit with her after the initial calming shot and also after she was out of the recovery room while she was waking up.

I would ask if they use the following:
-Warming blanket
-Advanced Patient Monitoring: includes blood pressure, ekg, and respiratory monitoring

Best of luck!
Moms
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Magwart View Post
Yeah, with a broken tooth, you really do need to do something...but extraction possibly isn't the only option. A vet dentist can sometimes put a topical sealant on some kinds of minor breaks that bonds with the dentin and forms a permanent fix -- depending on the kind of break.


No, an infection is unlikely to show up on a blood test unless the dog is gravely ill to the point its interfering with metabolic processes. It's something usually observed during the oral exam.


If you have the means and/or pet insurance to deal with the broken tooth, I would probably take the dog to a vet dentist. They can do a cleaning as an "add on" for a small up-charge while fixing the molar. The vet dentists I've known have also had advanced surgery suites (with "Bair hugger" warmers to maintain body temperature, etc.)....which not all GP vets have. I'm told that the way fluids are administered during surgery can also improve safety for seniors.

You can save a little money by having the regular vet run the bloodwork for you (as it's usually cheaper than through the specialist).

At university vet school clinics, and some specialty clinics, you can usually also request a vet anesthesiologist to be present. This article might be helpful in explaining the difference between a surgery at a general practice clinic vs. at a vet school:

I will look into that, thanks for the article as well. To be honest I was a little shocked about how cheap this procedure is. Has me wondering what the quality is. It was $195 for the exam and blood work yesterday. The anesthesia is $100 and the dental cleaning is $100. If extraction is needed, it is $11 per tooth.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 02-01-2019, 01:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Momto2GSDs View Post
Hi Reckzx & WELCOME!

We just went thru this with our 11 year old last year.

I was a basket case leading up to this dental procedure (3 extractions and cleaning) b/c we lost a 10 year old GSD to anesthesia years ago.

Instead of going to our regular vet, we chose a board certified dentist to help calm my fears. They were wonderful and a trained Tech was assigned just to her until we left. They let me sit with her after the initial calming shot and also after she was out of the recovery room while she was waking up.

I would ask if they use the following:
-Warming blanket
-Advanced Patient Monitoring: includes blood pressure, ekg, and respiratory monitoring

Best of luck!
Moms

Hello, thank you. I appreciate the help, I definitely will be asking these questions.
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